I have been practicing meditation, reading and listening to Buddhist teachings and I undertake the five precepts for about year now. This is the first time that I actually ask a question about my practice. I meditate every morning and then during my daily activities I try to be mindful watching the physical and mental phenomena.

I can be mindful quite well but as soon as I experience an unpleasant mental state such embarrassment or awkwardness fear and aversion come up and I feel kind of lost. It is like I forget what to do and I am not able to be mindful anymore. This happens even if I am well prepared to experience an unpleasant mental state. It happens when people are around and very fast too and even if I am not scared to experiencing them when they come up, it seems that I lose track and I forget everything. So what can I do in these situations?

Sorry for my English. I hope that this make sense. Thanks for your time, may all beings be happy and free from suffering.

4 Answers 4


What you are experiencing is normal. It's scary, but very much expected. Until we overcome a particular delusion it will keep harming us, so keep going!

Practising mindfulness means trying to keep your mind on the object you want to keep your mind on. The reason to practice mindfulness is to overcome the opposite mind of forgetfulness. If we never practised mindfulness, forgetfulness would continue to wreak havoc on our mind without end.

When we're practising we can experience a strong wave of the delusion we're trying to oppose and feel like we've failed, but actually it's just the delusion doing what it does. That's how harmful they are.

So yes, sometimes it might feel like you've lost your mindfulness without choice, and this forgetfulness may be too strong to overcome at that time. This doesn't matter because you are training in mindfulness so will eventually be able to remain mindful all the time.

In the meantime, you can simply observe the negative effect of forgetfulness and increase your wish to overcome it.

  • Thank you very much for your answer very helpful and you explain it very well!
    – Arturo
    Sep 11, 2014 at 11:51

First, congratulations on your year of practice. Sometimes we overlook the most basic principles of our practice, as such I am referring to the first noble truth: there is suffering. Note that it is not stated, "I suffer". By being stated this way it can be understood that suffering is not, "yours" or "mine". As opposed to viewing these experiences as, "I am embarrassed" or "I am feeling awkward" reflect upon these moments as, "there is embarrassment" or "there is fear". Know they are not yours but emotions that result from a particular experience. Also, bear in mind that as you reflect upon this experience you are being mindful and in the moment (meditating). Being mindful does not in itself guarantee happiness. Mindfulness combined with skillfulness will move you toward your goal. These principles are found in the Eightfold Noble path. Try noting your experience. Saying to yourself for example, "fear" or "embarrassed" as you would during formal or seated meditation, allowing for the physical response to dissipate.

"To let go of suffering, we have to admit it into consciousness. But the admission in Buddhist meditation is not from a position of: "I am suffering" but rather, "There is the presence of suffering" because we are not trying to identify with the problem but simply acknowledge that there is one." - Ajahn Sumedho

  • First off all thank you for your answer explained very well!Like you say this is what I try to do when there is an experience I look at it for what it is just labelling it without "I" without judging it just seen it for what it is , but sometimes it seems that I am not able to do that,is like that I know that there is suffering but I can't labelling it. Sorry again for my english
    – Arturo
    Sep 9, 2014 at 21:22
  • You're welcome. I am glad you found my answer helpful. You're awareness is an indication of your mindfulness and the necessary first step in your practice. Good job, you are certainly on your way. Patience will be your best friend! May peace be with you and it's been my pleasure to meet you. Sep 9, 2014 at 21:34
  • It's been a pleasure to meet you too and thanks again! nice to talk to you May peace be with you too.
    – Arturo
    Sep 9, 2014 at 21:44

Your English is fine.

Simple breathing is recommended by Thich Nhat Hanh. I am inhaling, one, I am exhaling one, Repeat for each number up to ten. If get off count go to one.

There is a simplicity to that that does not invoke mental activity and allows one to go to the counting and breathing when thoughts are faced.

  • "I am still practicing 'one', when I have mastered it I will take the other lessons." (from a well-known story)
    – user2341
    Apr 17, 2017 at 13:12

To add to the other answers, best is to be always be mindful of the sensations in your body and perhaps if possible the length of your breathing and the sensations around the mouth (below the nose and above the upper lip - also see this: https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/a/3362/295). This helps maintaining your mindfulness in daily life.

Also see some related answers:

How do I integrate Vipassana practice into daily life?



What is the Interpretation of Parimukham in the context of Buddhist Meditation?


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